GOP Govs Unveil Medicaid Reform Principles

29 Republican governors unveiled today seven guiding principles for reforming Medicaid in a letter written to Senator Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance and Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The principles will serve as the framework for future specific recommendations from the governors as they begin what will be an ongoing dialogue with Congress as it weighs how to reform Medicaid.

“Aside from the full repeal of Obamacare, no issue is more important to fixing our nation’s healthcare system than improving Medicaid,” said RGA Chairman Rick Perry. “Governors must be given the flexibility to craft solutions based on their states’ specific needs without constantly needing to ask the federal government for permission.”

“Medicaid is on an unsustainable trajectory that threatens the fiscal health of our states and the nation,” said RGA Policy Chairman Haley Barbour. “Just as governors answered the call to help reform the welfare system in the 1990’s, today’s Republican governors are committed to working with Congress to reform Medicaid.”

The seven principles are:

1.      States and territories are best able to make decisions about the design of their healthcare systems based on the respective needs, culture and values of each state.

2.      States and territories should also have the opportunity to innovate by using flexible, accountable financing mechanisms that are transparent and that hold states accountable for efficiency and quality healthcare.  Such mechanisms may include a block grant, a capped allotment outside of a waiver, or other accountable and transparent financing approaches.

3.      Medicaid should be focused on quality, value-based and patient-centered programs that work in concert to improve the health of our states’ citizens and drive value over volume, quality over quantity, at the same time containing costs.

4.      States and territories must be able to streamline and simplify the eligibility process to ensure coverage for those most in need, and states must be able to enforce reasonable cost sharing for those able to pay.

5.      States and territories can provide Medicaid recipients a choice in their healthcare coverage plans, just as many have in the private market, if they are able to leverage the existing insurance marketplace through innovative support mechanisms.

6.      Territories must be ensured full integration into the federal healthcare system so they can provide healthcare coverage to those in need with the flexibility afforded to the states.

7.      States must have greater flexibility in eligibility, financing and service delivery in order to provide long-term services and support that keep pace with the people Medicaid serves. New federal requirements threaten to stifle state innovation and investment.  In addition, since dual eligibles now constitute 39 percent of Medicaid spending, Medicare policies that shift costs to the states must be reversed and the innovative power of states should be rewarded by a shared-savings program that allows full flexibility to target and deliver services, which are cost-effective for both state and federal taxpayers.

A copy of the letter as a PDF is below. Gov. Rick Snyder has sent a separate letter to Chairman  Upton.